Ministerial Salary Review
Just a few points to add to the discussion. The appointment of the Chairman of the Review Committee desirably should be someone that is not only independent but must be seen as independent from all the parties affected. A foreign academic, a professor of some international standing can also be considered. Ideally the committee should be free to deliberate with absolutely no worries about breach of confidentiality. The concept of life long pension for elected people’s representative shall be scrapped. Elected representative of the people is not an employment where there is a career path, a route of advancement, annual appraisal and a performance bonus. It shall be a fixed allowance for the 5 year term of office. A one time gratuity may be offered to those who served at ministerial level and above and after a certain number of terms. It has been proven that many good and able citizens are willing to step forward to run for political office without the attraction of a huge payroll. A huge payroll will attract the wrong kind of people with wrong motivation. The myth that there are no good candidates without big dollars has been debunked. For comparison, the portfolio of a politician is very different from the CEOs in the private sector. The latter can be used as a kind of a guide, but one cannot totally ignore the remuneration of politicians in other countries. They are relevant and comparison with them will provide a better perspective of what public office is all about. Pay well, no one is against that. Pay well enough so that they are not tempted to be corrupt. This is a bit controversial but the people would go along up to a point. No need to pay excessively for this. If any public officer is tempted to put his fingers in the cookie jar, let the CPIB take care of it. No amount is good enough to keep a greedy person from turning bad. As for the Presidency, a totally new mindset must be applied as the current premises are far from what that office represents. A ceremonial President with no executive role except a custodial role, should remain more or less a ceremonial role. The remuneration shall be assessed accordingly. The Presidential Office shall not continue to be the joke of the people because of its grossly overpaid salary. It is already a great honour for any citizen to be elected into the Office. A decent and respectable allowance is more than adequate. Citizens seeking this office must not be attracted by the money. Some will even be willing to pay to have this honour. The dignity of the Office of the Presidency must not be tarnished by the controversy over money. An impartial and independent Review Committee is necessary to serve up a recommendation that is relatively more objective and appropriate for those in political office. There will be less doubts and controversies than what it is now.